Buck 55 QC question

Discussion in 'Buck Knives' started by jfn, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. jfn


    Aug 24, 2009
    Hi all,

    Been away from collecting for a while and I am just starting to get back into it--and I'm trying to start off on the right foot with Buck.

    Purchased a solitaire and a 55 (looking to buy more). Both are great but I'm having an issue with the 55.

    I returned/replaced my first purchase (online) due to the lockbar being out of flush with the handle when closed. It's fine when open but the spring recesses near the pivot and is proud of the handle near the lock (approx. 0.5mm each, enough to make it bothersome).

    The second 55 i received had the same issue. I contacted Buck and their response was that the general construction process involves sanding down the lockbar when the knife is open to create a flush condition for use, and let the lockbar lay where it is when closed.

    I'm curious if anyone else has had a similar situation with their 55, or other Buck lockback knives. I have other lockbacks with flush lockbars open and closed--and with current CAD/CAM technology I'm not sure if I can believe that this is the norm.

    Am I justified in wanting to get a perfect version or should I just relax and enjoy an otherwise beautiful knife?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    This is pretty common on lock backs and common on Bucks, from what I've seen.
  3. Palamino


    Nov 28, 2012
    The bar on my 112 sits up a little near the butt of the knife. I don't mind that, but I do mind the lock rock. Hasn't even been used. I've had some QC issues with Vantages too. Their fixed blades seem more consistent. Been a Buck fan for a long time, but lately I'm feeling a little disenchanted. It's a good American company. I want them to succeed, but I'm starting to worry.
  4. cards94


    Jul 23, 2013
    Same here. I want to support them but not if their quality is slipping which it looks like it is. I know the lock bar sits high on alot of the 500 series knives but not if you get a custom. Money talks but it just seems like it such a minor thing that you think they would solve this issue and make the buyers and owners of these knives happy. I have shown interest in picking up a 55 but certainly not now from the reviews I here with this continuous lock bar riding proud issue along with other issues.
  5. EagleIH

    EagleIH Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Dec 5, 2009
    I understand. I just started a thread here a few days back about a recently purchased 500 with the same problem. I've bought several knives in the 500 series over the past few years with the same issue.
  6. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker

    Aug 18, 2008
    All of my 112s and 500s have this. It is barely noticeable on all but the 501 but other then this I think they are very well made considering the 500 is the most expensive one $50 shipped. I've noticed that with use it's gotten better on all them. I'm just glad Buck is still making them in the USA and they brung back the 500. If I get the custom 112 or 501 and it's that way then I'll complain.
  7. Badhammer


    Jun 8, 2009
    .5mm is what 1/64". Perfectly flush would be nice but that's a pretty small amount and purely cosmetic. IMHO I would say that falls under a tolerance standard and not a QC issue but that's just me.
  8. Pondoro2310


    Apr 13, 2014
    I just checked my Buck 55, only a couple of months old. The lockbar is about 1/64 proud at the butt end when closed and the same amount recessed at the blade end. It is perfectly flush when open. This doesn't bother me.

    I assume they cut and drill everything on NC machines and target the tolerances to the best of their ability, and make sure the lockbar is slightly proud everywhere when the knife is open, then grind it back flush. Closed condition then is whatever it is. The initial tolerances from the machines will determine how perfect the end result is closed. Getting it perfect in the open and closed positions would mean buying more expensive machines or adding another hand operation. Every hand operation adds cost. They are struggling to keep these knives in the US. I'm OK with the tiny protrusion when closed.

    On that note - they probably get some finished knives that are better than others, just by normal variation. Do you think they throw the best ones in one pile, destined for cardboard boxes and the lesser ones in a second pile, destined for blister packs at big box stores? I'm not saying they do that, or even saying that would be bad. I'm just asking if you think they do that.

    By the way my 110 is a lot better than my 55 and they cost about the same. But when you think about it the labor content is probably close. Also the 110 came with a leather (made in Mexico but very high quality) sheath, the 55 came with none. So the 55 was really more expensive.
  9. Pondoro2310


    Apr 13, 2014
    An addendum - Imagine a Buck assembly worker makes $10-$15 per hour. But his true cost would be more like $50 per hour when you add in other costs. (I've done manufacturing cost studies before and $50 per hour is not a bad guess.) If he or she can grind back the lock bar on 25 knives per hour (just under one every two minutes!) then that operation adds about a $2 per knife. So if making it flush in the open and closed position forces that person to adjust two things it halves their rate and adds a second $2 to the cost of the knife.

    If you have to take a pin out to effect that adjustment (i.e. disassemble and reassemble) you could quadruple the cost of that step. So you are getting into semi-custom knives, or 1930's labor rates, or Chinese labor rates.
  10. jfn


    Aug 24, 2009
    It sounds like I'm not getting a raw deal, which is all I was worried about.
    It really is a cosmetic thing.
    I just assumed that if the seat at the pivot was symmetrical the Lockbar would be flush in both positions--and with the technology available that would be easy to achieve.
    I'll just consider it a part of the knife's character and relax.
    Thanks again.
  11. Old Hunter

    Old Hunter Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 12, 2012
    I have read enough of this discussion over the past few years that I was curious about my lock-back knives and what is "normal"; I pulled out a NOS circa 1990 Camillus 886, a used 1980's vintage Schrade LB-7, a used Buck four dot 110, a new Buck 50th Anniversary 110, a used Buck two dot 112, and a lightly used 2010 dated Buck 055. Every knife except one had a little spring protrusion (less than half a mm) on the lock side of the rocker pin when closed, getting more flush when open - or they did the opposite by being more flush when closed and with a little more protrusion when open. Opposite ends were slightly below flush. All blades had a tight lock when open (no side to side blade play and no up or down blade movement) - only one knife was perfect in alignment with blade to spring when locked open or closed. The only "perfect knife" I checked was my new 50th anniversary 110. If this is what folks are talking about concerning spring protrusion then I consider it normal, expected in an item with moving parts, and no issue at all. If the spring were high enough to snag something it should be considered out of spec. This is something I never looked at (or thought I should) until I read about it here - now that I have looked I think 0.5 mm or less spring protrusion falls in the category of normal. OH

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